We recently asked if it were possible to jumpstart an all-electric vehicle (EV) with a gas-powered or hybrid vehicle. The answer was a resounding…sort of. As we noted, a gas-powered or hybrid vehicle can be used to jumpstart the smaller 12-volt battery in the EV that powers the electronic features in the car, but would not be able to jumpstart the larger battery that is used to make the car go. Now we reverse the scenario and imagine that my wife’s car has a dead battery. I pull up to the scene in my EV, jumper cables in hand and prepare to save the day. Will I be able to restart her battery using my little car? Answer to this question is a resounding…no way! At least not without risking serious damage do my car.

While the 12-volt battery found in EV’s is similar to the lead-acid battery found in gas-powered and diesel cars, it does not have the power to crank an internal combustion engine. Doing so could cause unnecessary stress on the battery, damage to the DC to DC converter, and may fry the software that monitors the battery. Despite countless YouTube videos showing EV owners jumpstarting traditional cars, no EV auto manufacturer endorses this. Tesla Motors even states in the handbook for its Model S sedan that the driver’s warranty will be voided if there is an attempt to jump start another vehicle. It states plainly: “Do not use the battery as a stationary power source. Doing so voids the warranty.”

I located the owner’s manual for my car, a 2012 Nissan Leaf. On page 69, the manual states the following:

If done incorrectly, jumpstarting can lead to a 12-volt battery explosion, resulting in severe injury or death. It could also damage your vehicle. (okay, got it! I won’t ever try this)

Explosive hydrogen gas is always present in the vicinity of the 12-volt battery. Keep all sparks and flames away from the 12-volt battery. (good thing I quit smoking)

Do not allow battery fluid to come into contact with eyes, skin, clothing, or painted surfaces. Battery fluid is a corrosive sulfuric acid solution that can cause severe burns. If the fluid comes into contact with anything, immediately flush the contacted area with water. (that stuff sounds awful)

Keep the-12 volt battery out of the reach of children. (what are my kids going to do for fun now?)

The booster battery must be rated at 12-volt use of an improperly rated battery can damage your vehicle. (I wouldn’t dream of it!)

Whenever working on or near a 12-volt battery, always wear suitable eye protectors. (awww…do I have to?)

Do not attempt to jumpstart a frozen battery. it could explode and cause serious injury. (looks like I’m in trouble come winter)

Your vehicle has an automatic cooling fan it could come on at anytime keep hands and other objects away from it. (what?! where is this spontaneous, dangerous fan?!)

LEAF cannot be used as a booster vehicle because it cannot supply enough power to start a gasoline engine. (straight from the horse’s mouth)

So there you have it. As amazing as EVs are, they can’t do everything. Looks like my wife will have to rely on AAA if her car’s battery ever needs a jump and not her knight in a shiny red Nissan.

Source | Image: Wikimedia Commons